With the annual Outdoor Retailer and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) tradeshows around the corner, our good friends at SNEWS (www.snewsnet.com) have prepared a review of new trends and products in kids performance wear for 2013….
“As more companies recognize opportunity in the junior market, kids’ outerwear is gets increasingly sophisticated and performance based, thanks to a trickle-down effect of technologies from the adult collections,” writes Hellen Olsson, author of the popular Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids.
Here’s the beta in a nutshell (for complete story, visit www.snewsnet.com):
Snow Dragons and Rossignol have both doubled the number of waterproof offerings in their kids’ lines, while companies like Sunice have increased the level of waterproofing. Obermeyer boasts a minimum 10K/10K waterproof-breathable fabric from teen to toddler styles, and Burton brings more technical fabrics from its adult line into youth. The company’s Minishred outerwear features new eco-friendly Aquapel. Key sales point: the performance of this innovative fabric increases with washing.
For the junior Radar Jacket, Orage borrowed chimney-vent technology from its technical backcountry styles. The North Face brings its FlashDry moisture-regulating technology, launched last season for adults, to kids’ base and midlayers. In its junior lineup, Spyder employs a brushed-metal overlay film for anti-abrasion and design aesthetics.
Puffy jackets go high tech, too. Marmot launches Down Defender, 700 fill and water-resistant, across its kids’ collection. Patagonia’s Girls Hi-Loft Down Sweater Hoody combines a windproof shell with 600-fill goose down.
Double-duty jackets like Obermeyer’s lightly insulated Beck component piece, with a stylish snap-in fleece, add value. The North Face anticipates a hot-ticket item with its Reversible Mossbud Swirl Jacket for girls, which includes a luxurious high-loft fleece.
Fit is another big story. “The baggy look has lost its prevalence,” says Adam Garry, president of AFRC Outdoor Gear, Inc., owner of Boulder Gear and Snow Dragons. More companies are introducing a slimmer, more traditional ski fit, including Bonfire’s Derby Pant, as well as skinny silhouettes from Patagonia, Rossignol, Spyder, and Marker.
The retro look moves into junior lines, as styles like Descente’s new Element Junior Insulate jacket sports an old-school look and color combinations, and Marmot’s girl’s Zermatt features color combos and a retro-feel sleeve stripe.
Junior outerwear continues to add bells and whistles like glow-in-the-dark trims or headphone-wire-compatible zipper pulls. Rossignol jackets have removable helmet-friendly hoods and ski pass pockets. The North Face adds built-in goggle cloths and reflectivity. Grow-to-fit cuffs, which lengthen pant legs and sleeves from 1 to 2 inches, are now used by nearly all companies in certain styles.
As for color, pink and blue are passé, upstaged by vivid hues, neons, fun prints, textures, and plaids. Especially for young nippers, bright, vibrant colors appear in styles from Snow Dragons, Bonfire, Rossignol, and Obermeyer, while Sessions, Liquid Boardwear, Orage, Spyder, and Sunice incorporate fluorescent and neon.
Companies like Marker, Marmot, and Orage offer bright solids with color pops in snaps, trims, and zipper pulls. Eider’s stylish junior line mimics its adult collections with elements like faux-fur lined hoods, letting retailers merchandise products together.
“Color blocking creates options for mixing pants with a variety of jackets,” says Bonfire’s product line manager, Amy Eichner. It appears in jackets like Orage’s Ally, Liquid Boardwear’s Corvin, and Marmot’s Moonstruck. Marker’s Boy’s Scotty Jacket uses color blocking and color-pop trims with a retro twist. Burton’s youth collection includes bold color blocking, too.
Texture, key in Orage’s adult line, is being built into top-end junior pieces like the Girl’s Nala and Boy’s Craft jackets. Also pulling down from its adult line is Bonfire with its Shadow Weave fabric, and heathered yarns add texture to Sunice’s Zoe Pant.
And everyone, it seems, is still mad for plaid. Rossignol, Liquid Boardwear, The North Face, and Boulder Gear are playing with checks, and Patagonia’s junior line features mid- to large-scale plaids for a streetwear feel. “Plaid remains hot for 13/14,” says Boulder Gear’s Garry. “We can’t get away from it.”